Bolsonaro UN speech rehashes 2015 environmental pledge

Bolsonaro UN speech rehashes 2015 environmental pledge
Dilma Rousseff addresses the General Assembly in 2015. Photo: Cia Pak/UN Photo

“Which country in the world has an environmental preservation policy like ours?” asked a defiant Jair Bolsonaro in his address to the UN General Assembly earlier today. The Brazilian president patted himself on the back for establishing goals to eradicate illegal deforestation by 2030 — a promise former President Dilma Rousseff had made six years before at the same venue.

“In this spirit, I announced yesterday at the United Nations Brazil’s intended nationally determined contribution, which is to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 43 percent by 2030,” Ms. Rousseff said at the time.

Mr. Bolsonaro, meanwhile, has been harshly criticized for his laissez-faire environmental approach — having claimed on multiple occasions that regulations stand in the way of economic development. 

Indeed, last December, Brazil announced the exact opposite to the Dilma Rouseff administration, increasing the volume of emissions within its climate targets set for 2030. The new goals allow Brazil to emit 400 million tons of greenhouse gases more than in the National Determined Contribution presented in 2015 as part of the Paris Agreement. 

During today’s speech, Mr. Bolsonaro once again called out developed nations to “effectively meet their commitments” to finance initiatives to fight climate change — without saying how Brazil fits into that equation.